7 of 2023

 Newsletter No 7/24 February 2023                              


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TFG launches Bash online shopping platform

Source: Supplied

TFG officially launched its new fashion and lifestyle shopping platform, Bash, this week after beta launching the online retail marketplace in July last year.

Bash carries over 150 brands across 15 TFG store brands. It replaces the retail group’s mytfgworld.com platform, and visitors to the old site are being redirected to the bash.com homepage, while those shoppers who have been using the MyTFGWorld app are being prompted to download the new Bash app.

TFG said that the Bash platform, available on desktop and mobile web, as well as via the IOS, Android and Huawei App stores, was the most popular app both within the shopping category and across all categories, becoming “the most downloaded app within six hours of its launch to customers”.

TFG CEO Anthony Thunström commented, “We always knew that TFG had the ideal pillars to build a profitable, at-scale e-commerce business. Over 20 million customers, 3,000 stores nationwide, more than 15 of SA’s most-loved store brands, a compelling rewards and credit offering, and our unique quick-response manufacturing capability give TFG numerous advantages over pure-play competitors. What we needed was a tech platform to bring all these elements together, and Bash does exactly that.

“South Africa has a high mobile penetration rate and we believe that mobile is where the battle will be won. The new Bash app vs the older Mytfgworld apps are already up 50% month to date. We expected to see improvements but this has exceeded those expectations.”

Brand destinations

New store brand homepages on Bash for all apparel and beauty brands are already in place and from next week this will also include technology, jewellery and home brands.

The Bash team has migrated all MyTFGWorld log-in details and TFG Rewards settings, allowing customers to use the same email and password details to start shopping.

“The successful launch of Bash marks a significant milestone in our efforts to turn our vision into reality and create truly remarkable omnichannel experiences for our customers,” Thunström said.

“The Bash team has been hard at work over the past 18 months and built the foundations of what we believe will be the largest fashion and lifestyle shopping destination on the continent. We are delighted with the response from customers so far.”   Bizcommunity

The enduring appeal of ‘quiet luxury’

By Sandiso Ngubane

Local brands with a pared down aesthetic, such as UNI FORM, are worth looking into as you build a wardrobe of fashionable but quality threads.

Recession-proofing your wardrobe does not necessarily mean eschewing luxury

“Is recession-core just an opportunity for celebrities to cosplay being poor?” This is the headline on a recent article from Refinery29, wherein the author contemplates reasons behind the absence of jewellery on Hollywood red carpets.

She writes: “It all started at the Golden Globes a few weeks ago, when all eyes turned to stars like Daisy Edgar-Jones (of Normal People fame) for her muted corset gown, with a silhouette that demanded diamonds along her décolletage — which were notably missing. Then, less than a week later and many seas away, Margot Robbie wore a baby blue Versace number at the Sydney premiere of Babylon, which also lacked accompanying jewellery.”

She goes on to suggest that celebrities are merely moving away from the maximalist aesthetic to separate themselves from the average Joe. We know they can afford the jewels; it really doesn’t matter if they do, what they wear is still unattainable regardless of how flashy it is.

I don’t disagree, but I do think there are lessons to take from it.

The term “recession-core” originates from TikTok and is characterised as an effort on the part of the wealthy among us to avoid appearing ostentatious in times of strife.

Across the world, economists are predicting slow growth in the world’s leading economies, with many saying a recession is “likely”. For SA, Bloomberg’s monthly survey of economists turned up what respondents said is a 45% chance of a recession. The same survey had marked the odds at 35% just three months ago in November. Whether or not we fall into a recession, however, there’s very little doubt that many of us are struggling.

Before the end of 2022, it had become commonplace to find Twitter threads comparing food prices among retailers, often noting gigantic — and oftentimes alarming — price increases at certain stores. At my own local spaza, I was particularly shocked when the storekeeper told me they would no longer be selling amagwinya. The price of oil had simply become too prohibitive, and in spite of hiking the price of a single vetkoek from R2 in June, to R3.50 by the fourth quarter, they simply chose to avoid shifting the burden to the customer.

In times of strife, when it comes to fashion, it’s about quality, not quantity

In such an environment, clothing — let alone luxury fashion — is probably the last thing on your mind as you try to trim costs. Any plan to purchase a luxury handbag, an expensive pair of shoes or a dazzling diamond-encrusted necklace might have to take a back seat.

While I agree that what the celebrities are doing is poverty cosplay, for the rest of us, sans the huge pay cheques, cutting back on luxuries is an unavoidable reality. But do we really have to eschew luxury? I would suggest that it depends on your pocket, really.

For many, affordable fast fashion is not an option, but a necessity. Still, many outside that bracket are in a situation where being more pragmatic with their finances is advisable. To this shopper, I would say recession-proofing your wardrobe means opting for utilitarian practicality and the purchase of investment pieces.

This might constitute muted tones, or a pared down, reductionist aesthetic, similar to what we saw at the recent Paris Men’s Fashion Week shows, at LOEWE, for example. The tailored looks — brushed velvet, and wool overcoats — bucking showy trends, make for a wardrobe designed to last beyond a single season. Local brands with a similarly pared down aesthetic, such as UNI FORM, are worth looking into as you build a wardrobe of fashionable but quality threads and basics you won’t feel weird wearing a year, two or three from now.

It’s a kind of minimalist, quiet luxury with an enduring appeal. In times of strife, when it comes to fashion, it’s about quality, not quantity.  

Hermès’s bags of moolah

By Jamie Carr

Picture: REUTERS

The love affair with French luxury goods group Hermès continues

Hermès: Handbags of cash

While the cost of living crisis has left many a punter struggling to put food on the table, it’s a different story up in the stratosphere where the nearest thing to an existential crisis would be the shame of being seen in public sporting last season’s handbag. French luxury goods group Hermès has had a stellar year, with sales up 23% to €11.6bn on the back of a particularly strong performance in China, where many of its rivals have been wailing and gnashing their teeth due to Covid issues.

The group is in the happy position of having waiting lists for the privilege of shelling out north of €10,000 on one of its iconic Birkin handbags, named for the celebrated 1960s saucepot Jane Birkin, whose intimate collaboration with Serge Gainsbourg has been a beacon of hope for plug-ugly men ever since. Her breathy lyrics on the 1969 smash hit Je t’aime, moi non plus were rumoured to have been recorded in considerably steamier circumstances than the average studio environment, a cultural contribution that in the Gallic mind deserves to be immortalised with a handbag.

Hermès started life as a maker of saddles and harnesses, pivoting into leather goods, clothing, watches and jewellery in the 1920s once it became clear that the horseless carriage was here to stay. It continues to invest to increase capacity particularly in leather goods production, and created about 4,300 jobs last year, mostly in France. But the company says the quality it requires from its artisans is so high that it can train only about 300 leather craftsmen per year.

China Renaissance: Mystery of missing execs

China Renaissance is a leading Chinese financial institution founded as an advisory firm by Bao Fan back in 2005. It offers investment banking, investment management and wealth management services, and has been listed on the main board of the Hong Kong Stock Exchange since 2018. Bao is its chair, CEO and controlling shareholder, and until very recently was regarded as one of China’s best-connected bankers, having met Alibaba’s Jack Ma, Tencent’s Pony Ma and Baidu’s Robin Li back in the 1990s and worked with them ever since.

But last Friday the company had to announce to its shocked employees that he had disappeared. At the height of the financial crisis there may well have been a constituency that would have thought that disappearing bankers was an excellent idea, but in this case the market was unimpressed. China Renaissance’s share price tanked by 50% when the market opened, later recovering to end the day a mere 28% down. The company’s president, Cong Lin, was detained by Chinese authorities in September, and the likelihood is that Bao has suffered a similar fate.

There has been a long list of executive disappearances since President Xi Jinping launched his anticorruption campaign back in 2012, while over in Mother Russia at least 12 elite businessmen have died, apparently by suicide or in unexplained circumstances, since the launch of hostilities in Ukraine. It seems a remarkable coincidence that executives who criticise the war keep tumbling out of hotel windows, and it might be a sensible strategy for anybody considering an opinion on the topic to stick to the ground floor.   BL

HomeChoice – trading statement

In accordance with paragraph 3.4(b) of the JSE Ltd. Listings Requirements (JSE LR), companies are required to publish a trading statement as soon as they are satisfied that a reasonable degree of certainty exists that the financial results for the period to be reported on next will differ by at least 20% from those of the prior comparative period.

Shareholders are therefore advised that the Group’s earnings per share for the financial year ended 31 December 2022 (current period) is expected to be between 70% – 90% (between 271.7 cents and 303.6 cents) higher than the 159.8 cents reported for the corresponding financial year ended 31 December 2021 (the previous corresponding period).

The Group’s headline earnings per share for the current period is expected to be between 30% – 50% (between 264.6 cents and 305.3 cents) higher than the 203.5 cents reported for the previous corresponding period.

The Group’s audited financial results for the year ended 31 December 2022 are expected to be released on the Stock Exchange News Service on 14 March 2023.

Fast Fashion Facts You Might Not Know

80% of Apparel is Made by Young Women Between the Ages of 18 and 24

Besides the environmental impacts, fast fashion also has huge social repercussions. Low price tags are often a signal that something is wrong behind the scenes. Too often, the industry is associated with issues such as child labour, the exploitation of workers as well as violations of basic workers’ rights, such as the lack of safety rules, low salaries, and excessive working hours. Fast fashion brands prioritise mass production and profit over human welfare. Some go as far as describing the fast fashion industry as a ‘modern form of slavery’. A 2018 US Department of Labor report found evidence of forced and child labour in the fashion industry in Argentina, Bangladesh, Brazil, China, India, Indonesia, Philippines, Turkey, and Vietnam


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